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WWE Judgment Day
May 19, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


There can be denying that Judgment Day 2003 was just about the least anticipated wrestling pay-per-view event in recent memory.  But based on early returns, it sounds like the fans who ponied up the cash for the event walked away feeling like they got more than they had anticipated.

Of course, when expectations are as low as they were coming into tonight, maybe that ain't saying a whole lot?

Here are the full results of the just-completed WWE Judgment Day PPV:

  • Steve Austin opened the show in the ring, basically did a token welcome and got some cheap pops by drinking some beers, including a toast with Tazz.  Austin then excused himself to finish watching the show from a skybox in the arena.
  • First match was the SD! six-man set up just this past week.  Chuck Palumbo, Johnny Stamboli, and John Cena managed to get a win over Chris Benoit, Rhyno, and Spanky Kendrick.  Spanky got things off to a hot start with an over-the-top-rope move, but was quickly relegated to the Ricky Morton role.  Hot tag came to Benoit, who did a commendable job of cleaning house.  In the chaos, Spanky actually blind-tagged back in.  Although Benoit locked Cena in the Crippler Crossface and was getting the tap out, he was not the legal man...  Nunzio interfered when Spanky went for Sliced Bread #2, and that allowed the FBI to get the pinfall on him following their finisher.  At about five minutes, this felt more like a SD! caliber free-TV throw-away than anything...
  • In the skybox:  Eric Bischoff arrives, and Austin immediately sets about making him feel at home.  With beers and burgers and other low-brow tailgate-caliber grub.  Bischoff is miserable, but endures Austin's "hospitality" in this and a couple of other GM vignettes interspersed throughout the show.  Including one that, quite retardedly, ended with Bischoff vomiting.  And if the vomit itself was retarded, I do not have the words to accurately critique the decision to replay the vomiting.  Twice.  
  • La Resistance were victorious in their PPV debut against Test and Scott Steiner.  They started things off with some of the same basic mic work they've been doing for the past month, to the equally predictable cheap heat.  This was largely the sort of action you saw in the six-man tag on Monday: decent but utterly forgettable.  Finish had things pick up after Test was thrown into Stacy Keibler, who had gotten up on the ring apron. Steiner went to help her, and Test was left to try to salvage the match.  He was making his comeback and was ready to blast Grenier with the Big Boot, but he misfired, and took out Steiner with the boot.  Test powdered out, Steiner got hit with the double team flapjack thingie, and was pinned.  About 6-7 minutes, I think.  Not horrible, but reeking of inevitability at ever turn.  After the match, Stacy wanted to go back and help Steiner, but Test had other things on his mind.
  • Backstage:  funny interplay between mild-mannered reporter Greg Helms and Mr. America.  Helms insinuated that Mr. America was really Hulk Hogan.  So Mr. America came back over the top with accusations that Helms was really The Hurricane.  Both men then decided to agree that neither had any sort of secret double life.
  • Backstage 2:  Eddie Guerrero announces that Chavo is out of action, and he's been given the option of wrestling tonight in a handicap match, forfeiting, or choosing a new partner.  Well, duh, he took the new partner:  Tajiri.  
  • Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri beat Team Angle in a ladder match to win the WWE Tag Team Titles.  Outstanding, spot-tastic affair.  Mostly spots we've seen before in ladder matches, but still spectacular at times.  I won't try to recount everything they did.  We'll just jump ahead about 15 minutes to the final moments of the match, as both Eddie and Charlie Haas were on the ladder, and Eddie sort of sunset-flipped into a rude powerbomb on Haas.  That left Shelton Benjamin to try to stop Eddie from climbing the ladder, but he wound up getting a well-time faceful of green mist.  Tajiri and Eddie climbed the ladder simultaneously to grab the straps.  Really good 15+ minute match, and a surprising ending...  looks like they really wanted to go with the originally planned ending, substitute partner or no.
  • Backstage: Chris Jericho was being interviewed by Terri about his participation in the IC Title Battle Royal.  Roddy Piper wandered through and the two got into some verbal sparring.    They split up in time for a vignette about the history of the IC Title to air.
  • Pat Patterson -- the first IC Champ -- came out to the ring so he could be on hand to present the new IC Champ with the title belt.  Also before the battle royal, we were introduced to a surprise participant:  Val Venis, full-on porn star gimmick intact, returned.  Chief Who?
  • Christian wound up winning the IC Title in devious fashion, last eliminating Booker T.  The full roster of participants: Christian, Booker, Jericho, Kane, Rob Van Dam, Test, Goldust, Lance Storm, and Venis.  RVD and Kane started off the match against each other, but that quickly dissolved, and Kane soon thereafter eliminated Storm.  Right after that, EVERYbody (including RVD) teamed up on Kane to eliminate him.  Booker T tossed out Test, and Goldust eliminated Val.  Christian and Jericho started working together, and managed to take out RVD.  That left them together against Goldust and Booker (who also started working together).  Goldust and Booker managed to beat down the heels, and Goldust implores Booker to do a Spinaroonie.  When Booker starts to play along, Goldust attacks him and tries to eliminate Booker;  but Booker reverses it and tosses Goldust.  The two shared kind of a smile and a "Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do" look and walked away still friends.  Booker then had his hands full with both Jericho and Christian; he got beat down for a couple minutes, but caught his break when the heels' teamwork also broke down.  Christian set things up so that Jericho could hit the Lionsault, but when Jericho leapt up on the ropes, Christian got up behind Jericho and tossed him out.  The bastard!  Jericho and Christian did NOT share the Glance of Mutual Respect and Good Humor at this point.  Next up: the ref was bumped when Booker accidently kicked him.  Booker, at that point, rallied and tossed Christian over the top rope.  Pat Patterson seemed to think this was the end of the match, and moved to give Booker the title belt...   but Christian intercepted it and plastered Booker over the head with it.  The ref woke up just in time to see Christian tossing Booker over the top rope, having missed the previous elimination.  Another 15 minute or so contest, and pretty fun as far as battle royals go.
  • Tazz MC'ed the Bikini Contest between Torrie Wilson and Sable.  There's no real point trying to describe this thing, so let's just say that Sable looked MILF-a-licious and actually had Torrie beat by the crowd's vote... until Torrie took off her Playboy-sanctioned full-cut bikini to reveal a little silver number that was barely street legal.  Fans did an about face, and Tazz gave the contest to Torrie.  Torrie, for reasons known only to her at this point, closed the contest by kissing Sable ever so gingerly on the lips.
  • Mr. America managed an oh-so-rare pinfall win over Roddy Piper.  Mr. A was seconded, as we expected, by Zach Gowen (the one-legged Tenacious Z, using his real name), while Piper had Sean O'Haire in his corner.  Atrocious back and forth action for about 5 minutes before we mercifully entered End Game.  Mr. A Americaed up and hit the Leg Drop o' Nationalism, but was interrupted by a run-in from Vince McMahon.  Vince caused enough of a distraction to allow Piper to sneak up from behind Mr. A and hit a low blow.  Vince then equipped O'Haire with a pipe, which was intended for Mr. A's head.  But while Vince distracted the referee, Mr. A dodged O'Haire's blow, and Piper took the lead pipe to the forehead.  Mr. A hit the legdrop again, and this time, Zach Gowen came to America's aid by grabbing Vince and stopping him from interfering as Mr. A made the pinfall. Mr. A and Tenacious Z celebrated the victory while Vince left obviously simmering with pure hatred.  Probably as short as they could get away with, but still brutal for a bit; finish was entertaining enough, and clearly they intend to save the Tenacious Z "holy shit" spots for down the line.  I guess this is smart... but a one-legged Asai Moonsault would have gone a long way towards making this segment worthwhile in the short-term.
  • Backstage: Stephanie McMahon and Triple H crossed paths... and the former (or is that future?  oy, my head!) couple were pleasant to each other.  Steph told HHH to be careful against Kevin Nash.
  • Kevin Nash was the winner via DQ against Triple H.  Let the comparisons to HHH/Steiner v1.0 begin!  This, actually, was not nearly that bad.  Michaels and Flair got involved almost immediately, and inside of 2 minutes they had brawled to the back and were barred from returning by referee Earl Hebner.  Nash controlled several minutes until a ref bump took Hebner down.  HHH took advantage and used a low blow and an exposed steel turnbuckle to set Nash up for the Pedigree.  HHH hit the move, but Hebner was still groggy, so his ultra-dramatic super-slow-mo count only got up to 2 and a half.  HHH got frustrated and decided he wanted to use his trusty sledge on Nash.  But Hebner was more recovered by now and was having none of that noise.  So HHH just blasted Hebner with it, instead, causing the DQ at some point just shy of the 10 minute mark.  Nash went nuts after the match, hitting the Snake Eyes into the exposed turnbuckle, as well as a pair of Jackknife powerbombs.  The second one came after Nash dispatched officials, Flair, and even his buddy Shawn Michaels, and had Nash putting HHH through the announce table.  No way was this outstanding, but it was watchable, and I actually thought the post-match bits went a bit towards recreating a bit of the old Diesel vibe.  
  • Jazz retained her Women's Title, surviving a four-way match against Jacqueline, Trish Stratus, and Victoria.  Early on, Trish and Jackie teamed up against the heels, but then wound up facing each other for a bit... after they softened each other up, Jazz and Victoria got back involved, and controlled the match, pausing only to break up each other's pinfall attempts.  Finish was Trish being suplexed out of the ring by Victoria, then Victoria being suplexed by Jackie, only to have Jazz break up the pinfall.  With the other two girls out, Jazz DDT's Jackie for the win.  Under five minutes, but pretty action packed; another good women's match.  Somehow, Trish ended up bleeding from the mouth after the match.  
  • Ground Rules:  there are three stretchers at ringside. To win the main event, you have to incapacitate your opponent and roll him all the way past a line that has been taped down at the end of the entrance aisle.  Anything goes besides that.
  • Brock Lesnar beat the Big Show to retain the WWE Title.  From the get-go Show was in command, using his Hit List Backboard as a weapon.  But Lesnar rallied, using the stretchers as weapons for a brief flurry.  This degenerated into basically back-and-forth brawling, with microphone cables, the lighting rig/scaffolding, and lots more coming into play.  They did a couple of teases, too, with guys escaping the stretcher just prior to going over the yellow line.  Realizing the normal sized stretchers around ringside just weren't going to hold Show up long enough to get past the line, Lesnar KO'ed Show and then disappeared to the back.  While he was gone, Rey Mysterio made a convenient appearance.  Rey got some shots in, but was about to get chokeslammed when Brock suddenly returned... driving a forklift!  Lesnar drove the forklift to the ring, and jumped off it onto Show.  A couple of suplexes later, and Show was finished.  Lesnar hit an F-5, and then laid a stretcher across the fork part of the forklift.  Then he laid Show down on the stretcher.  Then he raised the forklift way up high so Show could not try to escape without hurting himself.  Then he drove the forklift back over the line to win the match.  Probably about 15 minutes, and a way better (and longer) match than you might have expected from the two.  The end may have been kind of silly, but it did give you a "big finish" feel that would have been lacking if they just rolled a stretcher past a yellow line.

On a show that featured limited-appeal matches and segments that felt like they belonged on free TV and not PPV (the opening two matches and all the Austin/Bischoff stuff) and a couple of mid-show contests with dangerously-low amount of in-ring skill being displayed (Hogan/Piper and Nash/HHH), do you still give the benefit of the doubt to "show savers" like the very good ladder match or the surprising stretcher match when looking at the big picture?

I don't know.  I'll let you decide.   


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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